Oh sure, it all seems so promising at first.
“Players with median-length careers earn about $3.2 million in a few years. If they are forward-looking and patient, they should save a large fraction of their income to provide for when they retire from the NFL,” Kyle Carlson, Joshua Kim, Annamaria Lusardi and Colin F. Camerer wrote in a working paper released this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Then you sink a bunch of cash into a couple of car dealerships bearing your name, a legit-sounding investment firm run by a fellow ex-player that turns out to a Ponzi scheme, and a chain of Yahtzee-themed restaurants, and all of a sudden it's like "Where the hell did all my money go?"
Instead, the researchers found that 15.7% of players file for bankruptcy within 12 years of retiring from the league, with little difference based on career length or earnings. “Having played for a long time and having been a successful and well-paid player does not provide much protection against the risk of going bankrupt,” they wrote...filings gradually increase in the two years after retirement, “likely due to a combination of players rapidly drawing down limited savings and having leveraged investments.”
One in Six NFL Players Goes Bankrupt Within 12 Years of Retirement [Real Time Economics]